Wednesday 18 December 2013

PBGS 'One Show' Christmas Treat!

Attention all PBGS peeps - don't forget to watch the BBC's The One Show tomorrow night (Thur 19th) for a PBGS Christmas Fairy G&S treat!!! 

Fame at last : -)


Wednesday 11 December 2013

PBGS Christmas Meal

PBGS had its annual Christmas Meal at the Raven at Hexton last night, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we had a wonderful time! Many thanks to Paula who organised it and made sure we had a great night out. For all of you who couldn't come, we missed you! Here are some photos of us all enjoying the pudding course (I won't name the indvidual who had more than one...). 10 brownie points to those still wearing their paper hats. If we don't see you next Tuesday at our last rehearsal of 2013 -

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 
(and learn those words...)

All photos: Sue Wookey

Sunday 24 November 2013

Wolverton G&S: Nunsense

Lots of familiar faces from PBGS will be performing in Nunsense in Wolverton this week. From Jo:
How do you raise the funds to bury 4 colleagues who are languishing in the freezer? Put on a show of course! so come and join the roller skating, tap dancing, ballet dancing, gospel singing, forgetful nuns for a hilarious evening's performance.
Tickets are £10/£8 in advance or £12/£10 on the door. They can be purchased from the Box Office on 01908 262250 or through Nightly from Thursday 28th November to 30th November at 7.30pm and matinee on 30th November at 2.30pm at Creed Street Theatre, Creed Street, Wolverton, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Mikado Cast

After an impressive (and long!) afternoon of auditions, here is the cast for our Spring 2014 production of The Mikado:
Yum-Yum: Paula Fraser
Pitti-Sing: Emma Crew
Peep-Bo: Catherine Harvey
Nanki-Poo: Brian Miles
Pish-Tush: Tim Hobman
Pooh-Bah: David Crew
Mikado: Clive Wheeler
Ko-Ko: Peter Sayers
Katisha: Sue Wookey
With 22 performers trying out for 9 parts the committee were really spoilt for choice. Congratulations to all those who were successful and commiserations to those of us who missed out this time.


Monday 11 November 2013

Christmas Meal!

You'd hardly credit it as it doesn't feel like a year since we were at The Raven stuffing our faces with mince pies and pulling crackers, but it really is that time of year again. The PBGS Christmas Meal will be on the 10th December at The Raven in Hexton. Yes - they've allowed us back for another year! We'll be meeting there at 7.30pm in full festive fig.

Now's the time to choose your menu so click on the link below to see the options:

PBGS Christmas Meal Menu

Please let Paula know your choices and cross her palm with your £10 deposit!


Saturday 2 November 2013

Salad Days Review

Nova Horley, our Noda rep, has sent us her review of Salad Days:
"PBGS put loads of energy and fun into the show and speaking for myself, I came out feeling happy and upbeat... in the main a nice fun show, that the cast obviously enjoyed, which always communicates itself to an audience, and enhances their enjoyment"
That seems to have been the experience of most of our audiences too! Read Nova's full review here Salad Days Noda Review.


Thursday 31 October 2013

Mikado Auditions

Auditions for our next production of The Mikado will take place on Sunday 17th November at 3pm in Streatley Village Hall.

You will have a chance to go through the music audition pieces at our regular Tuesday evening rehearsals. Here are links to PDFs of all the information you need to prepare:

Audition Slips

Mikado Character Notes

Mikado Libretto Audition Pieces

Mikado Vocal Audition Pieces

If you've never auditioned before, don't be afraid to give it a go. We hold friendly, open auditions with a lot of encouragement from the floor!


Tuesday 15 October 2013

Our next production: The Mikado!

Our thanks to all our audiences who came and supported us at our Salad Days performances last week. The feedback has been wonderful - everyone seems to have really enjoyed the show - and we know some of you travelled quite a distance for a chance to see it. We really appreciate it and hope to see many of you again in the future! 

Now Salad Days has been put back in the salad bowl we are already thinking about our next show. If you came to see us last week you can't have failed to notice the massive banners in the foyer telling you that we are off to Japan in April 2014 for The Mikado. The last time we did it we were all wearing black and white, and tap dancing in a 1920's hotel, this time we'll be back in kimonos and obis, and impressing you (we hope) with our precision fan work.

Tuesday 22nd will be a Show Taster Evening when the production will be presented and there will be a chance to sing through some of the score.

Everyone is welcome to come and join in. If you've thought about becoming a member, or wondered what it would be like to take part in a production, we'd love to meet you. We are also always looking for backstage and front-of-house helpers so if you would like to join us but don't see yourself as a performer, there are still plenty of ways you can become part of the team.

The Show Taster (and all our rehearsals) are at Streatley Village Hall from 7.45pm - 10pm. Full location details and contact numbers are on our Contact Us page, but you can just turn up and we'll make you welcome.


Friday 11 October 2013

Two nights left for Salad Days!

Two Salad days down and two left to go! We hope that those of you who have already seen it have thoroughly enjoyed yourselves. And if you haven't been yet, you are in for a treat if the audience laughter is anything to go by! The production really showcases all the Society's character cameo talents and is keeping us on our toes (literally!).

If you would still like to book for Salad Days please contact the theatre directly at tel 01462 455166!

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Salad Days: one week to go!

Nicole Santelmannm Tim Sell and John Epton rehearsing 'Hush Hush'
Only one week to go until we open at the Queen Mother Theatre!

Salad Days is filled with humour and memorable characters, all affected by 'Minnie' the piano 'that makes you dance'. Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds wrote Salad Days as a summer musical for the Bristol Old Vic's resident company. It opened in June 1954 at the Theatre Royal, Bristol, and proved so popular it moved to the Vaudeville Theatre, London, where it run for over 5 years. At the time it was the longest running musical in the history of the British Theatre. Containing all the optimism of the 50’s, the show bubbles with fun, song and dance and quick-fire humour.

Dianna Moylan and Tim Sell as Troppo and Timothy
If you've never seen Salad Days here is a brief outline of the plot to whet your appetite:
Jane and Timothy are friends who meet up after graduation to plan their lives. Not sure what to do next and also not sure if they are actually in love, but hopeful that they will be, they decide to get married in secret. Jane’s parents are desperate for her to marry someone suitable and Timothy’s parents want him to ask each of his four influential uncles for a job. But Jane and Timothy decide that having solved the marriage question, Timothy should solve the job one by taking the first offer to come along. Fate can’t resist an opportunity and a passing tramp offers them £7 a week to look after his piano for a month while he has a holiday, but the piano has a secret - when it is played it gives everyone within earshot an irresistible desire to dance!
Andrew Hodges as the Inspector and Barny Shergold as PC Boot
To be sure of your seats, there are several ways to book:
  • direct from PBGS by ringing 07946 264886. Please also ring this number for group discounts and special seating requirements
  • You can also email an order through this website by clicking on the Order Tickets link:

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Salad Days Booking

Paula Fraser and Tim Sell as Jane and Timothy
Salad Days is almost here, opening at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin, on October 9th. And as you can see from the rehearsal photos we are working pretty hard! The show really fizzes along with plenty of dance routines to keep us on our toes and sparkling music. To be sure of your seats there are several ways to book:
  • direct from PBGS by ringing 07946 264886. Please also ring this number for group discounts and special seating requirements
  • You can also email an order through this website by clicking on the Order Tickets link:
Jane, Timothy and Troppo see a Flying Saucer
The Saucer Song
We are really looking forward so seeing you all again and we know that you will enjoy every minute of this popular show!

All photos © Sue Wookey


Wednesday 11 September 2013

Salad Days: 'Nobody ever saw such a saucy saucer'

Flying Saucer from Plan 9 From Outer Space
There are many unexpected landings in Musical Theatre - Miss Saigon may have a helicopter and Phantom of the Opera a crashing chandelier, but Salad Days has, of all things, a Flying Saucer. Salad Days premiered in the UK at the Theatre Royal, Bristol in June 1954, and the saucer – a real saucer complete with teaspoon - would have delighted 1950’s audiences who would have all been caught up in the growing popular interest in science fiction and UFOs. When Timothy’s Uncle Zed unexpectedly arrives in a Flying Saucer with his telepathic friend Electron from the Planet Zed, the two protagonists, Jane and Timothy, find themselves airborn, 'looking for a piano' while taking a pop at pulp science fiction.

The term ‘Flying Saucer’ was a generic name given to any unknown flying object, coined in 1947 by American newspapers which were filled with the sighting of nine saucer shaped objects by pilot and salesman, Kenneth Arnold. Arnold described the objects as being like ‘saucers’, ‘discs’ and ‘crescents’, and ‘a fish flipping in the sun’, but mainly he described them as being like ‘pie-plates’. Somehow ‘flying pie-plates’ doesn’t have the same ring to it (though it would have worked very well in Salad Days!). The newspapers ran with ‘saucer’ and it became the popular term for the phenomenon, even after the US Air Force officially called them Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, in 1952. As it says in the Saucer Song from Salad Days:
It might have been a flying plate,
Or perhaps a flying dish,
A flying cup or a flying spoon
Or even a flying fish.
But of all the many things that fly
By Nature or by Art
You’ll find a flying saucer
Will get off to a flying start.
Klaatu and Gort from The Day the Earth Stoon Still
Flying Saucers entered a popular pulp literature already full of extra-terrestrials, robots (culminating in Asimov’s nine science fiction short stories, I, Robot) and outer-space adventures. But they really imprinted themselves in the minds of the public in black and white B movies. Only three years before Salad Days the 1951 American science fiction film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, was released. Directed by Robert Wise, it contained an impressive saucer landing, Michael Rennie lending a bit of acting clout as extra-terrestrial, Klaatu, and a suitably scary and silent robot, Gort, wielding a impressive death-ray. The film seized the popular imagination and the mood of the time with its anti-atomic and anti-war message.

The Day the Earth Stood Still Poster
After Salad Days the flying saucer, robot craze continued with Earth v. The Flying Saucers, Forbidden Planet (a class act based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest), Space Family Robinson and Ed Wood’s completely preposterous and unforgettable Plan 9 from Outer Space.

All great fun for a Saturday night with popcorn but not, of course, as comfortable and homely as Uncle Zed in his real flying saucer, steered by Electron with a giant spoon. All that and great music too!

- Sue W

Excerpt from Salad Days by Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade © Samuel Frenc

The Day the Earth Stood Still © 20th Century Fox


Sunday 18 August 2013

NODA District 3 Award Nomination!

 Brian as Prince Charming in 'Trial by Jury'

Congratulations to Brian Miles who has been nominated for Best Male Performance in a Musical for his Carboy and Defendant in our Spring 2013 Triple Bill. The winners will be announced at the Noda District Meeting on September 15th, so start crossing those fingers now!

Well done Brian! All together now... 'Prince Charming, Prince Charming....'

Brian as Carboy in 'The Zoo'


Monday 12 August 2013

Mikado Fans

Here is an advance request from Alison for future Mikado rehearsals - you will all need to work and practice with a fan so now's the time to go looking for them, especially any of you travelling to warmer climes this month. Any folding kind will do for practice, even those with flamenco dancers on them!


Monday 5 August 2013

Our team for our Spring 2014 Mikado!

We are delighted to announce our Production Team for our Spring 2014 Show, The Mikado. Our Producer will be Alison Gibbs and our Musical Director will be Sue Trost.  Alison gave us our Noda East Award Nominated Patience in 2012 and our funny and colourful Fairy Tale Trial by Jury. Sue took on the role of MD for our 2013 three-parter, Cox and Box (the show is a musical challenge, if ever there was one), and we're thrilled that the whole company will now get the chance to work with her.

We are looking forward to our coming production of Salad Days (have you booked yet? Clicky click the button on the top right of this page!) and are equally looking forward to The Mikado, which is an all time G&S favourite. The last time we did it we were all in black and white and tap dancing. Whatever we do this time, I bet it will be a lot of fun.

The Mikado will be launched on 22 October and this will be an open evening for new members, both on and offstage. So if you have thought about joining PBGS this would be a chance to come along, learn a bit about the show and see what we get up to! We rehearse at Streatley Village Hall and all details are on our Contact Us page.

As a taster, here are some previous PBGS Mikados. If anyone has photos fron the 1972 and 1979 productions I'd love to post them! 

 Our 2007 production

Our 1998 production

Our 1992 production

Our 1986 production

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Advance booking for Salad Days

Advance booking is now open for Salad Days and you can reserve your tickets by email by clicking on our shiny new Order Tickets button on the top right of this page, or by ringing us on 07946 264886. Watch this space for the launch of full online booking when the Box Office opens!

9th-12th October 2013
Queen Mother Theatre
Walsworth Road, Hitchin SG4 9SP
Tickets £13 (concessions* Weds, Thurs £11.00) 

 *Senior citizens, children, ES4JPs, students.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

PBGS performs in the West End!!

On 25th June, six PBGS performers, one Musical Director and 2 Wolverton G&S performers - with a technical Chairman - headed to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London's West End. Given one weeks' notice by the BBC's "The One Show" to perform the opening chorus from Iolanthe, we dragged the costumes out of the garage, choreographed the number, organised 2 rehearsals and gathered as much fairy dust as possible!

By trains, we were able to meet at the theatre at 1.30pm; from PBGS:Jo Bigg, Stevie Gibbs, Ketina Orriss, Paula Fraser, Nicole Santelmann, Laura Abella, Richard Fraser and Margaret Johnson. from Wolverton G&S; Jude Lovely and Karen Platt.

On arrival we were greeted by Jake - the (very relieved) One Show Researcher - given the bar to change in (no, it was locked), given fairy lights to wear - which involved Richard ferreting around down the backs of fairy costumes - and headed onstage. By 2.30pm we had done two run-throughs with Margaret at the helm - we increased the amps as we can be a bit loud when we all get together and hearing the keyboard was a problem!

We were introduced to Kate - the Director, and Marty - the Presenter and the filming began. After about 10 takes of the whole number, with the camera following various people or taking wider shots of the whole company, we repeated the ending several times to fit in a special surprise. Thankfully there were some breaks for water and rest whilst the technicians moved the camera, but it was great fun and less stressful than being live! By 4.15pm we were done - 45 minutes early! And we headed off to Prezzos for some well earned refreshment and to rest some weary fairy feet.

And all of us can say we have performed on a West End Stage!!

The performance was being recorded as part of the story of why Fairy lights gained their name, and the broadcast date is yet to be confirmed - watch this space for further details...


PBGS Summer Social BBQ

The sun has got his hat on and let's start hoping it lasts until August for the PBGS BBQ! Bring along offerings for the buffet and Richard's cooking skills, a bottle, sunscreen, wasp swatters, fleeces and umbrellas (you never know) and your good selves, 17th August, 4pm - til Paula falls asleep in the fireplace.


Wednesday 12 June 2013

We're looking for a T-I-M-O-THY!!!

PBGS is performing Salad Days at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin during the week of the 7th October and we have not yet cast the male lead role of Timothy. So as well as "Looking for a p-i-a-n-o" we are looking for a Timothy!

Salad Days is set in the 1950's and posh BBC english is a must! It's all about a couple who leave university and are pressured into marriage (Jane) and work (Tim). They decide the best thing to do to keep their parents off their backs is to marry each other (even though they are not in love) and look after a tramp's piano for £7 a week as work. They then discover that the piano makes everyone dance when it is played and they become notorious through London, being chased by the Police and the Minister of Pleasure and Pastimes who wants to stop everyone enjoying themselves. There are lots of cameos, comedic scenes, silly songs and lively dancing thoughout the show.

Timothy has just left university and should be a stage age between 20 - 30! He has a lot of dialogue, some songs of a baritone range (although no solos) and a bit of movement/dancing although there is no need for them to be trained. Could suit someone seeking to develop their performances beyond smaller, supporting roles as Timothy is on stage for about 75% of the show.

If you are interested or can think of anyone that would be suitable to perform in our show, please contact our Secretary Paula Fraser on 07956 678720 or email


Wolverton G&S: Follow That Girl

Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society are presenting Follow That Girl from the 4th - 6th July at the Creed Street Theatre, Wolverton. As always, several PBGS members are involved and this is a great chance to see another show by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds, who wrote our current PBGS show, Salad Days. From the Wolverton Website:
'Follow That Girl is a musical adapted by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds (who also wrote Salad Days and Hooray for Daisy.) from their original Bristol Old Vic production Christmas in King Street.

The story centers on a girl named Victoria Gilchrist, whose parents want her to marry one of two businessmen. She objects and runs away. Her capture after a long chase by a policeman, Tom, leads to romance and finally marriage to him.'
Follow that Girl

4th to 6th July 2013

7.30pm Creed Street Theatre (MADCAP)
Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Box Office 01908 262250 
Full detail at the Wolverton Website here


Wednesday 5 June 2013

Masterclass with Neil Rutherford

Hitchin Thespians are presenting a masterclass with Neil Rutherford on Sunday 14th July from 11 - 5.30pm, full booking details on the poster below:

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Salad Days Cast

Congratulations to everyone who auditioned last night - it was huge fun! The cast so far is as follows:

The Tramp
Aidan Dwyer
Paula Fraser
To be confirmed
Timothy's Mother
Sue Wookey
Timothy's Father
Paul Kerswill
Aunt Prue
Sue Kennedy
Lady Raeburn
Margaret Snape
Alison Gibbs
PC Boot
Barny Shergold
Sue Kennedy
Dianna Moylan
Nicole Santelmann
Sir Clamsby Williams
John Epton
Andrew Hodges
To be confirmed
Night Club Manager
To be confirmed
Louise Thonger
Augustine Williams
To be confirmed
Alison Gibbs
Paul Kerswill
Nicole Santelmann
Uncle Zed
Clive Wheeler
Dancing Bishop
Paul Kerswill

There are still some parts to be cast, so if you want to be considered for any of them please contact Paula.


Thursday 9 May 2013

Triple Bill Review

 Rehearsing Cox & Box

Our Triple Bill presentation of Cox & Box, The Zoo and Trial by Jury was clearly enjoyed by our Regional Noda Rep, Nova Horley, who has given us a really appreciative review:

"A very interesting, lively and amusing evening’s entertainment. I have never seen The Zoo before, but thought it was very interesting and colourful, despite being rather gruesome in content!

We were treated to some excellent performances, lovely costumes and a quirky, different take on Trial by Jury. The Directors had contrived to make each Act very different, which gave us an interesting evening, with some good contrasts.

The musical configurations for each Act were good, with well-rehearsed and harmonious musical numbers – well done to the three MD’s, and I liked the comedy value of Shirley Hale for Trial by Jury!

The set for Cox & Box was good, typifying a gentleman’s lodgings – with two excellent performances from Graham Breeze as Cox and Robert Little as Box. The story, if anything was sillier than usual – Sullivan music with lib by Burnand – but it somehow seemed quite real, with nice contrasts between musical numbers, with various additional silly songs, but all given a believable air by these two gents, who had extremely good voices, created good three dimensional characters which blended well. In this Act Richard Dean played Bouncer – I liked his narrative song about the army.

This then set us up for Act 2 – The Zoo. A very good opening with lovely costumes, and some excellent principals. I particularly liked Brain Miles as Carboy, as well as singing beautifully, he gave us comedy and pathos with his ineffectual attempts to hang himself, and his relationship with Laetitia giving us a softer side to him. Paula Fraser was a winsome Laetitia – who gave us lots of expression, to match her erstwhile suitor, and sung the part well with lots of expression. There were also Thomas and Eliza, played by Graham Breeze and Jo Bigg, who performed a lovely number Ah, Maiden Fair, and I have made a note of good timing from Thomas in We Gather From What You have Said. A simple story, but well told and super costumes, lots of colour, worn well, with nice wigs where required. Tom Gammell completed the principal line-up with a contrasting performance as Laetitia’s father. This piece had brightness and vivacity from the cast and was most enjoyable to watch, despite the rather dark suicide and poisoning plot!!

This was followed by Act 3 – Trial by Jury – and a very different take on this one. The jury were all pantomime characters, as were the Counsel, the Defendant, the Plaintiff, and the Judge. It was hilarious, and so suited the music. The set was again excellent – as were the superlative set of costumes. I loved Brian Miles again, this time as the Defendant, cast as Prince Charming but with the look and ways of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast – a good characterisation, plenty of expression, and nicely sung. Jo Bigg looked super as the Judge, and again was very expressive. Loved her sparkly mauve costume, it really suited her and the part. Paula Fraser gave us a slightly off-beat Cinderella /Plaintiff, which was a nice departure from the norm, and her four attendants were nicely played by Gill Davidson, Ketina Orriss, Alice Bridges and Nicole Santelmann. Frank Banks as the Usher was the only fairly normal character!

So all in all a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment from PBGS – well dressed and well sung with some lovely harmonies and good characterisations."
Thanks Nova, and well done to everyone!